Those pursuing careers as Correctional Officers in the United States may have to make do with less; average incomes for people in this area hover around only $36K per year. Earnings for this group are mostly affected by geographic location, followed by the company and years of experience. Medical benefits are awarded to a large number, and a fair number earn dental coverage. Job satisfaction for Correctional Officers is high. Most Correctional Officers survey respondents are men (75 percent). The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$25,817 - $61,742
(Median)
$26K
$36K
$62K
MEDIAN: $35,678
10%
50%
90%

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$10.98 - $22.08
(Median)
$11
$15
$22
MEDIAN: $15.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$21K$42K$63K
Salary
$25,817 - $61,742  
   
Bonus
$120.80 - $5,006  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$24,893 - $57,555  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 941
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$14$28$42
Hourly Rate
$10.98 - $22.08  
   
Overtime
$15.47 - $39.74  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$28K$56K$84K
Bonus
$120.80 - $5,006  
   
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$24,893 - $57,555  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 725
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Job Description for Correctional Officer

A correctional officer works at a prison, jail, or similar institution. They are responsible for maintaining the safety and control of all persons remanded to the custody of the facility. The help ensure and enforce all procedures and regulations as required by the jurisdiction and management.

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Correctional Officer Tasks

  • Responsible for transporting or moving prisoners.
  • Receive and secure prisoners until their release.
  • Maintain security of the jail or institution.
  • Supervise prisoners and maintain security, rules, regulations and cleanliness in correctional facility.

Common Career Paths for Correctional Officer


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Though not the most common occurrence, Correctional Officers sometimes become Registered Nurses, where the average income is $56K per year. The most common career progression for Correctional Officers leads to becoming a Corrections Officer, where average pay is $36K annually. However, many Correctional Officers also opt to become Security Officers. Typically, a Security Officer brings home $25K.

Correctional Officer / Jailer Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Correctional Officer


Many Correctional Officers can be found at Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), Texas Department of Criminal Justice, The GEO Group, Inc., Dept. of Corrections, and Florida Department of Corrections, firms that are at the top of the field. NYSDocs attracts talent by shelling out the biggest paychecks in the area — the median in that office is $59K. Correctional Officers can also look forward to large paychecks at Oregon Department of Corrections ($47K), Federal Bureau of Prisons ($46K), and Indiana Department of Corrections ($38K).

Tennessee Department of Corrections, Idaho Department of Corrections, and Florida Department of Corrections also rank near the bottom for pay, handing out $27K, $32K, and $33K-paychecks on average.

Popular Skills for Correctional Officer


Survey results suggest that Correctional Officers use a fairly large toolkit of professional skills. Most notably, facility with Safety Compliance and Transport are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 43 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Writing Procedures & Documentation, Security Risk Management, and Military. Competency in Oral / Verbal Communication frequently indicates knowledge of Security Policies and Procedures.

Pay by Experience Level for Correctional Officer

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Correctional Officers — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. Workers with less than five years' experience earn around $32K on average, and those who have five to 10 years under their belts see a higher median salary of $36K. Correctional Officers claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $40K. After two decades in the workforce, the average Correctional Officer generally earns more than ever; median pay for this group is estimated at $48K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $34,810

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For those looking to make money, Correctional Officers in Los Angeles enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 79 percent above the national average. Correctional Officers will also find cushy salaries in New York (+29 percent), Baltimore (+19 percent), Salem (+15 percent), and Phoenix (+12 percent). Indianapolis is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 14 percent. Workers in Lawton and Raleigh earn less than others in this profession; their salaries fall short of the national average by 10 percent.

Correctional Officer Reviews

What is it like working as a Correctional Officer?

Correctional Officer in Cleburne:
"Ugh...."
Pros: What I like most is the stability. It is job security because there will always be someone breaking the law. And it pays my bills...well somewhat pays them.
Cons: It is dark and depressing. There is no appreciation for anything you do. I was told I can move up in the company but employees that have been there less time then me are getting picked over me. Plus, they want me to treat people like they are dirt all because they are jail and I just cant do that.

What is it like working as a Correctional Officer at Georgia Department of Corrections?

Correctional Officer in Abbeville:
"Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC)"
Pros: While working with the Department of Corrections, I obtain discounts at a few retail locations for being employed in Law Enforcement.
Cons: There's nothing at all at this time that I like about my job with GDC. When I first started, I really enjoyed going to work, our whole shift communicated not only as coworkers, but as if we were family. We followed the policy that GDC has in place, and did what we had to do on a day to day basis. We as officers ran the prison, and inmates did as they were told. Things have changed now, policy is being broken in favor for the inmates, and inmates run the institutions. Officers are being punished for trying to follow policy, and supervisors are not backing up the officers. The sole duty of a supervisor at any prison is to back up their officers, train their officers to handle situations the right way, and to guide the newer officers to follow policy. None of this is happening anymore, and its making the state prison systems a very dangerous place to work. The stress level for those of us who try to do right by policy has increased dramatically. This is why I hate my current job.

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Experience Affects Correctional Officer Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 37%



National Average
$35,000


Skills That Affect Correctional Officer Salaries

Safety Compliance
up arrow 43%

Transport
up arrow 14%

Oral / Verbal Communication
up arrow 3%

Security Policies and Procedures
up arrow 2%

People Management
up arrow 1%

National Average
$35,000

Military
up arrow 3%

Security Risk Management
up arrow 15%

Writing Procedures & Documentation
up arrow 17%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 157 votes.

Gender

Female
25 %
Male
75 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
45%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
9%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 87%
dental benefits
Dental: 72%
medical benefits
Vision: 66%
dental benefits
None: 11%
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